To continue working or retire

Hello, I am new, I was told I had secondary breast cancer of the lungs at Christmas & wondering what to do with the rest of my life!!! My main isssue is to either continueing working or give it up to enjoy the llfe I have left. I work 3 days aweek & love it but there is so much extra work that needs to be done at home as part of the job. it takes so much time that I could be putting to other things. I do need the money & not sure how i would survice financially if I don’t work but I don’t want to waste my time working. However work is such a big part of me and enjoyable and what would I do if I don’t work? At the moment I am going to continue working until I am other the shock of finding out about the cancer returning… I would be interesting in hearing others thougths & views x  

Hi Sunbeam


Just so sorry you have had to join us on this road of not knowing what’s next.  Give yourself time to come to terms with it and then think again.  I now never think twice about anything I want as this is my time now, but obviously you have finance to consider as well.  I am retired now so it is easier for me.  Sending my thoughts and hope your treatment gives you lots of years.  Buzzing xxx

Hi Sunbeam.

I was diagnosed last July with triple + BC, and then during chemo, with a follow up scan was told I had it in my sternum too. Shocked to say the least. 

Initially I was signed off and had every intention of going back, but once the secondary diagnosis was given it changed my whole perspective of what was important. My “last day” was last Saturday and I’m now officially retired at 53!! 

Good luck in your decision. Take your time and you will find what feels right for you. Xx

Hi sunbeam
I like you have been having this dilemma. I was diagnosed with secondaries to pleura, liver and bones a year ago - took nearly a year off for treatment but then felt desperate to regain my identity(also love my job) so returned to work part-time. I swing from enjoying the normality and sense of accomplishment work gives me to feeling that I should finish on I’ll health retirement (I’m 48) while I still have time to enjoy the financial freedom to travel having my pension would give and enjoy with my family - sometimes feel desperate time is running out!!! I have so far had a good response to treatment due another scan in april so guess I’ll take it from there.
Not sure if you are aware you can claim PIP benefits if you are not doing so speak to a macmillan advisor it all helps. If I finish work I have been looking at voluntary work xxx

Thanks sunbeam will keep you posted!.
With regard to the PIP do you have a breast nurse?. My nurse completed all the forms I didn’t see any of them she claimed under the special rules which means you get the highest award and don’t have to re-apply for 3 years. This freaked me out at first as the special rule stipulates life expectancy MAY be 6 months or under. She explained that none can predict life expectancy and that is how they get around it. Lots of ladies have been having PIP many years. Definitely speak to your breast nurse or macmillan adviser as having this has allowed me the choice to work reduced hours as I do get tired . Let us know how you get on good luck xx

Hi Sunbean
Really sorry to hear about your diagnosis, you have come to the right place for support and help.
I was diagnosed Dec 2012 with SBC and bone mets straight at stage 4, I was 44 and worked full time as a school administrator. It wasn’t until Nov 2014 when liver mets were diagnosed that I asked to work 27 hours instead of 37. My school were very supportive throughout treatments but I decided last May to try for ill health retirement which I was awarded. I loved my job but I wanted to spend time with husband, family and my grandchildren. I will be 50 next month and certainly didn’t expect not to be working but I am so glad I stopped working. The time I now have with family means everything to me. I am lucky that I have a pension & I do claim PIP as well, my husband is also retired.
It is a very personal decision, all the very best with your treatment.
Helen x

Hi all, I’m going through this decision too. Was diagnosed with primary in September 2014, I was 47 and children 9 and 12. At the time working 30 hours a week. I carried on working 15 hours per week during chemo and was then made redundant.

It took me a while to get the energy back but I really wanted to return to work. I found the perfect job in September 2016 as an administrator at a multi academy school trust, 24 hours, 4 days a week, 2 miles from home and school hols off!

Christmas 2017 I was diagnosed with bone nets. I’m really struggling to keep working. I’m exhausted. Macmillan have said I’d qualify for ESA but not early retirement. If I stop work I know in 6 months time I’ll be bored and want to work again!

Just what to do? Fortunately my husband has a good job but my money paid for holidays and fun.

I keep wondering if I’d be a better mum if I’m not working and so have more energy to create memories with my kids? X

Hi Seabreeze how are you getting on?

I’ve got a meeting with occupational health on Tuesday and will discuss a reduction in hours. There are so many non teaching jobs across the Trust, there must be someway to accommodate me on less hours.

I’ll check back in next week!

Hi everyone who has given up working.

I would appreciate knowing if you have any regrets or if it’s the best decision you made.

Sunbean x. 

Hi Sunbean, thank you for your comments. It must be hard if your husbands not in good health either. We’re in our fifties, my son takes his GCSEs this year and my daughter is just 12.
We hope that one day we’ll be able to release equity from our house (if the kids can ever afford to move out!) and totally with you on DIY jobs and decluttering! I find it difficult enough to summon up the energy for the essentials let alone the big spring clean and decluttering. X

Well occupational health was pretty inconclusive. "Dawn’s going through treatment for cancer, sometimes she needs time off after her monthly hospital treatment but this may change as time goes on. " blah blah blah !!

I’ve got another week of easter holidays to think about it all. I think in my head I’ve decided I can’t do my current job as well as I would like - fatigue and poor concentration together with greater responsibility than the job I originally started.

So it may be a discussion to see if there are any alternative options for me. Or I leave work and concentrate on me, yoga, my dogs and my family. I’ve recently started experimenting with drawing and sewing which I used to love before children took over my spare time!


So glad I found this thread although a little bit behind. Not been on here for a while.

im struggling with work and what to do.

am 47 and living with mets on my liver and lungs and having 3 weekly treatment. first diagnosed in 2009 with primary and had the lot thrown at me but managed to recover to a point and re train and was so pleased that I got a job as a family support worker with sure start children centres in 2012 and have loved it. Then Dec 2016 the bigger came back and put paid to all that. Took most of 2017 off for chemo and recovery. Tried to return to the job I loved in August 2017 mainly as I’d run out of sick pay and I wanted to get some routine and normal in my life. But work dealt with my return awfully. No understanding. By Christmas it was too much and the side effects from on going treatment and fatigue I was feeling and my emotions about what was happen was too much and I crumbled into a depression.

went back to work end of Feb thankfully work have been abit more understand maybe because I waved the equality act at them!!!

im now working 3 days. It should be 4 but am using one day annual leave daily to make it 3. But like someone said I’m using my good days working.

im absolutely exhausted and my brain fog is dreadful. It’s such a hard job too so emotional. It’s changed so much because of government cuts and I’m basically dealing with very vulnerable families that don’t meet social work criteria.

i always loved it and gutter d because Worked hard to get it but it’s emotionally draining and lots of driving and exposed to all sorts of germs. And I have to manage my side effects one of which isn’t dashing to loo without warning which isn’t very graceful.

i don’t know what to do because I didn’t want to stay at home all the time and thought work would do me good and give me focus. I just find it so tiring 

This sounds like a very difficult situation. I
am not an employment lawyer but am pretty sure that the law is on your side. Do you have a union? It seems to me that you need a proper meeting with HR and they need to make your rights clear. I think work is important while you are coping with the challenges of secondaries. I don’t know what other ladies think and I hope they will respond but we need to keep living. I also hope you’re being treated for depression. It’s hardly surprising that you feel low. Best wishes Anne

Hi everyone,
I’m in this situation too. I was diagnosed with secondary BC in Jan 18 now on Oral Chemo ( palliative). I’m 61yrs and had a 3 hrs commute to work each day.
I saw a CAB Adviser recently at the Macmillan Horizon Centre who thought I had a good chance of receiving PiP.
I just feel Chemo fatigue constantly.
Also, doesn’t help that I’m on my own. Cat is some company but not learnt to converse in anything apart from Siamese!! >^••^< .

What are other’s views regarding PiP please?

Thanks JMP.

Hi Nicky08,
Many thanks for your reply I did not know about the DS1500 form useful to know.
My Siamese Cat speaks the language :slight_smile: not me !
Judith xx

Hi Windflower,
Thank you for your reply. My Siamese Cat is a rescue, I got her from the Oriental Rescue in Sussex. She’s very timid ( bossy with me), and does not go outside. ( eyesight is a bit weak). She sees the flat as her domain instead.
Judith xx

Hi Windflower,
Here are the details for where I got my rescue cat from. In case you or anyone reading would like to give a cat ( or 2 ) a home.
Judith xx

Hi Nicky08,
Thank you for your reply I appreciate it.
Last Monday eve I joined a local authority keep fit group for ladies in a school down the road. I think it will be general advice about nutrition with some exercise/ mat work. I let the organisers know about my health situation and that I’m on chemo.
I’ve joined to try to feel fitter and also socialise as now I’m not working I’m pretty isolated socially as I have no family at all. Mum passed away in 2016 at 92yrs and dad in 2912 at 90yrs. No siblings children etc. I have an ex who’s been surprisingly supportive and come with me to Onc meetings etc. But he lives in another city.
I’ve been in bed all day as felt wiped out. Start cycle 7 of Cape on Tuesday if bloods ok Monday.
Judith xx